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How to Rock a Short Pixie Haircut at Any Age, According to Stylists

It's a big change, but anyone can pull it off—and look fabulous.

There are many reasons to choose a short pixie haircut, whether it's to save time in the morning, create a shorter upkeep routine, help hair get to a healthier state, or simply because it's the most flattering cut for your hair texture and face shape. Making the chop might be intimidating, especially if it's your first time going super short, but we're here to make it easier. Ahead, get insight from the pros on how to find the best short pixie cut that looks best on you and what you should know about upkeep.

RELATED: 10 Best Short Haircuts for Women Over 60, Stylists Say.

What Is a Short Pixie Cut?

Portrait of businesswoman with gray hair wearing eyeglasses while looking at camera.

A short pixie haircut is quite short! It can range from buzzed to a few inches in length, with super-short boy-cut styles and longer shaggy styles with bangs in the mix. The top part of the hair is typically longer than the back and sides, leading to a tapered effect.

If you're looking to keep some length, you might opt for a longer pixie or even a bob hairstyle. These styles offer similar maintenance and hair health benefits without being as dramatically short.

What Face Shapes Do Pixie Haircuts Look Best On?

Short pixie cuts can look great on everyone, whether you have a heart, square, oval, or round face shape. However, Ghanima Abdullah, cosmetologist at The Right Hairstyles, particularly loves them on heart-shaped faces.

"That's because it really compliments a pointed chin and makes it look delicate," she says. "Heart-shaped faces also tend to have a wide brow, which adds more space to the top of the head—this means you can experiment easily with different pixie cuts."

The best pixie hairstyle for women with square face shapes is likely one with bangs, which can soften your features. Bangs can also help if you have an oval or oblong face shape since they shorten the appearance of the face and balance out your features.

An experienced hairstylist can help you select the best pixie cut for your face shape and features. Ask before your appointment to see if suggesting styles is something they're comfortable with.

Are Pixie Cuts Low Maintenance?

Compared to long hairstyles that can take hours to wash, blow dry, and heat style, pixie cuts are low-maintenance with regard to your everyday routine.

"You might use a curling iron up top occasionally or a blow dryer if you like more volume, but most pixie cuts are pretty much wash and wear," says Abdullah.

However, they're high-maintenance when it comes to maintaining the cut—just think about how much more dramatic a half-inch of hair looks on a short cut than a longer one.

"It's best to get the style recut every month," says Abdullah, since hair grows an average quarter-inch per month. This refresh schedule will keep your pixie looking fresh and easy to style on a day-to-day basis.

Are Pixie Cuts Still In Style?

Michelle Williams

Pixie haircuts are one of those cuts that are practically always in style—but experts predict they'll be especially trendy in 2024. The cuts were enormously popular in the '90s—just think about celebs like Angelina Jolie, Chloë Sevigny, and even Drew Berrymore—and there's currently a major '90s and Y2K resurgence.

Of course, modern-day models and celebs are also rocking the pixie haircut. Look to Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Zoë Kravitz, Emma Watson, Halle Berry, and Michelle Williams for inspiration.

Again, your stylist can help you find a variation that feels uniquely you and totally current—even if you pay homage to the pixies of the past.

RELATED: 7 Best Women's Hairstyles That Will Never Go Out of Style.

10 Best Short Pixie Haircuts

1. Short Pixie for Thin Hair

Mature smiling woman with a short pixie haircut wearing a beige dress with black polka dots against a beige background
Cheschhh / iStock

Abdullah says pixie cuts are fantastic for people with thin hair types.

"Taking away the gravity from longer hair strands can help the hair look fuller and thicker," she says. "Pixie cuts also require less heat to style, and therefore, there is less risk of damaging fine hair strands."

Sticking to short hair can also help you eliminate any hair damage and split ends and start fresh from the beginning. (Though, note that if you plan to regrow your hair long, you will have a somewhat awkward grow-out period.)

2. Short Choppy Pixie Haircut

mature woman with short red hair wearing a white long-sleeved t-shirt
Rade Kovac / Shutterstock

A short, choppy pixie can give tons of texture and volume to those with fine hair, thin hair, or flat hair.

"The uneven layers can help hide the scalp and make the hair look thicker," says Abdullah. "Textured cuts look great on any face shape."

The style typically has a youthful, edgy feel, so the one you choose will depend a lot on your personality.

3. Short Pixie Cut With Side-Swept Bangs

Portrait of a young woman with a platinum blonde pixie haircut standing against a wood wall with ivy
julief514 / iStock

For this look, your stylist will keep the top front of the hair much longer than the rest of your pixie and part it to the side.

"This gives you a perfect amount of hair for a side-swept bang that's great, making the dimensions of diamond and heart-shaped faces more even at the top by literally dividing it," says Abdullah.

Side-swept bangs also have a softening effect and prevent the cut from looking harsh.

4. Short Pixie Haircut With Long Bangs

Side view portrait of of a mature woman in her kitchen. She has short gray hair and is wearing a gray t-shirt with a white cardigan.

This is another fun way to add bangs to your cut.

"A pixie with long bangs looks great on a square face because the bangs can add softness to a harder jawline," says Gretchen Friese, Bosley MD trichologist and hairstylist. "Often, people who are experiencing hair thinning in the front of the hair will opt for a bang as well."

5. Tapered Pixie Cut

Smiling woman with short gray hair wearing a pink shirt and sitting on the couch.
Ridofranz / iStock

Abdullah says a tapered pixie is pretty much the standard nowadays.

"Clippers are used on the sides and back to get a tapered look, then the rest of the hair gradually gets longer as you move to the top," she explains. "Almost all pixie haircuts have a taper these days."

The cut looks great on all face shapes, she says, but they particularly flatter those with a heart-shaped face.

6. Shaggy Pixie Haircut

Portrait of a young brunette woman with a shaggy pixie haircut on a white background
Ridofranz / iStock

The shaggy pixie cut is the exception to the tapered rule. This cut avoids the undercut technique that gets the sides and back shorter than the top. Instead, the top may only be slightly longer than the other parts of the hair, depending on the desired look.

The choppy cut has uneven layers and tips throughout. "All-in-all, it's a pretty retro look that was once super popular in the 1970s," says Abdullah. "If you're looking for something different, this might be your choice, as long as you're not actually from that era—in that case, the cut will only age you."

Abdullah likes the shaggy pixie best on oval faces. "It helps shorten the face because of the bangs that are almost always cut into this look," she says.

7. Feathered Pixie

Portrait of fashionable mature woman with short blonde hair wearing stylish gray wool coat with lapels and shoulder straps, accessories brooch and sunglasses
Anna Zhuk / Shutterstock

This is a great short pixie haircut for women with thick hair.

"They use long, pronounced layers, the kind that are great at thinning out the hair, and the pixie forms small pieces that look like feathers," says Abdullah. "This pixie looks great on all face shapes—you just have to pay attention to the thickness of the hair."

If your hair is thin or thinning, the cut probably isn't for you since it could exaggerate that thinness.

8. Pixie Haircut With Choppy Layers

Portrait of a woman with short black hair wearing a black dress looking to the side against a gray background
lielos_photograph / Shutterstock

A choppy layered pixie is best for people with straight hair, says Friese.

"Slightly wavy hair works well too—but in most cases, you don't want to add too much texture to a cut on curly hair, as the curl is adding its own texture," she explains. "To optimize texture, doing a rough blow dry and using a product that adds separation are great ways to style the look."

9. Super Short Pixie Cut

Smiling mature woman with short white hair and eyeglasses wearing a peach shirt while walking outside

A super short pixie, often called a boy-cut pixie, follows the tapered pixie cut technique but may only have a few centimeters in length.

It's a bold look, especially when paired with strands in an equally bold color or silvery gray hair. It's also an easy style to add baby bangs to, in case you're looking for a way to amplify the cheekbones or eyes.

10. Balayage Pixie

Back of a woman's had at a salon as stylist cuts her pink hair into a pixie cut
Mikhail Spaskov / iStock

A balayage pixie is any pixie cut that's been colored with a balayage technique or the process of hand painting highlights onto the hair without the use of foils. Balayage can give your pixie cut a pretty dimension, depending on the type of color result you're looking for.

RELATED: 12 Hairstyles That Make You Look Older, According to Stylists.


mature woman with a blonde pixie haircut wearing a white blouse giving the peace sign against a yellow background
Raisa Kanareva / Shutterstock

Do Pixie Cuts Look Good On Older Ladies?

Pixie cuts can look great on anyone, but they're especially well-suited for older women. These cuts make it easier to style thin or thinning hair, which becomes common later in life. They also make it easy to add volume to the hair.

Finally, pixie haircuts are lower maintenance, leaving lots more time for living life than toiling over heat tools. Just make sure to choose a modern pixie, so you don't look dated.

What's the Easiest Pixie Cut to Maintain?

There's a simple rule of thumb here: The shorter the pixie, the less maintenance is needed.

"So a boy-cut pixie, the very short, flat pixie with a side part, is probably the easiest," says Abdullah. "With short pixies, you only have to add leave-in conditioner or gel and use your fingers to rake your hair into the shape that it's already been cut into."

As soon as you start adding length, you start adding time to your styling routine. "If your hair is more than a few inches long, you'll probably need to use a blow dryer to get it into shape and another tool like a curling iron or flat iron to style it," says Abdullah. "You're usually only styling the top of your head, though, so it's still easier than a medium-length haircut."

Tell your hairstylist you'd like to consider maintenance time when choosing your cut.

Do Pixie Cuts Work With Thick Hair?

Pixie cuts can work on people with thick hair, but you'll need to choose a specific type of cut and ensure your stylist is experienced in these types of cuts.

"Unless the person doing the haircut is able to really remove the bulk of the hair, the cut can look a bit 'helmet' like," says Friese. "Pixie cuts on thick hair can often require more maintenance as the hair can get bulky quickly."

You'll need to visit the salon frequently to get the cut thinned out.

What's the Best Pixie Haircut for Women With Curly Hair?

For this hair texture, choose a super short pixie cut. "I think the shorter, the better, especially in the fringe area," says Friese. "This style is really easy to manage with just a little styling product—and often there is no blow drying required."

As your pixie grows out, it may require a bit more product and possible heat styling.


An edgy pixie cut can make a serious impact and ease certain maintenance issues like washing, drying, and heat styling. The best one for you will depend on your face shape, hair texture, maintenance capabilities, and your hairstylist's advice. For more hair and beauty, make sure to visit Best Life again soon.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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